real life, real stories, real connection

I can’t say I haven’t been busy around here – traveling to weddings, a memorial, and a new birth this year – but I’m finding ways to take advantage of my time when I’m at home. Sometimes that means slow mornings and skipping workouts and watching reruns. And sometimes that means attending events and buying movie tickets and meeting friends for happy hour. It’s been a roller coaster of a year – but a good one.

Among the chaos, I’m searching for ways to ground myself in the present, so that my life doesn’t speed by in an increasingly blurry wave of commitments. And one of these ways, I’ve found, is slowing down enough to focus on my relationships.

She Connects IRL Fitness Event

And here I’m going to share a couple things about myself.

If it’s not obvious, I’m an anxiety prone introvert. Through and through – regardless of what photos on my Instagram feed may lead you to believe. I grew up excruciatingly shy, heartrendingly shy, and my ability to (somewhat) communicate with others now is the result of years and years of hard work and putting myself out there and facing my fears. Of living with and fighting the anxiety. It hasn’t gotten much easier, but I do it because I value a full life and real connections and quite frankly, someone to talk to.

The second thing you should know about me is, I come from a broken family, a lost relationship with a father. We all have our stories and our crazy family histories (I know I am not alone in this), but my truth is that I could never comprehend the “blood is thicker than water” proverb. To me, true, meaningful, sacred relationships are not formed by birth but instead proven by a commitment to one another.

If I’m being honest, both of these things make it difficult for me to buy into relationships. To trust someone’s intentions. To say “I love you” (which I only say to a handful of people in my life).

If I’m being honest, both of these things make me crave those very human relationships that I often feel I am not allowed to have.

As I wrote about here, going to fun events and meet-ups just didn’t cut it for me. I could no longer be the 12 year old girl sitting in the middle of the cafeteria table with the seemingly cool girls and not feeling like I had a friend in any of them. I couldn’t encourage the cliques and the feelings of loneliness that (surprise) don’t magically disappear once you become an “adult”.

She Connects IRL Basecamp Fitness Sponsored Goodie Bags

And so, with She Connects IRL, I (along with my friend Amber) am trying to plan fun events AND form meaningful relationships. With women who are supportive instead of damaging. With women who can relate and share their truths and withhold judgment. With women who actually practice authenticity and who actually show up.

Basecamp Fitness Santa Monica

Two weekends ago we gathered for the second time to reconnect with some women from our barre event and to meet several new ones. We were led through a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout at Basecamp Fitness Santa Monica – Amber’s second home and my first time at the studio. Unfortunately, I had strained something in my foot the day prior and could only partially participate (and take photos). But as you’ll see (there’s a video at the end of this post!), the class was super high energy, everyone had a ton of fun, and the staff was so welcoming and supportive. I have loved incorporating these high interval types of workouts into my my usual routine of barre, yoga, and spin classes. It’s a nice change of pace, gives me that added strength training I need, and honestly, makes me feel like a badass.

Basecamp Fitness HIIT

After the class, we refueled with Noka Organics smoothies (seriously delicious and seriously good for you) and Pixsweet ice pops, which Laura so generously showed up with and which were the perfect healthy treat with which to cool off. Amber took the reins and led us through a connect session, in which we all circled up to share a meaningful truth – this time, about a woman who inspires us. It was such a lovely way to get to know every person on a little deeper level, and my heart is so happy that the attendees felt the same way (and gushed about afterwards).

Connect Session - She Connects IRL, Los Angeles

Our hope with these events is to not only focus on self-care (which you’ve heard me talk about time and time again, I’m sure), but on community as well. We’re the no-clique clique, and we hope everyone will continue to feel welcome, continue to show up, continue to actuallyΒ talk to one another. We’ve found a wonderfully supportive group of women here, and Amber and I couldn’t be more excited. Many of these women have even taken on the initiative to plan Basecamp workout dates with one another (Basecamp so kindly offered a free month of unlimited classes to all the attendees). It has already been more than we could have hoped for. Sweetgreen gave us all gift cards too, so I’m predicting some lunch dates in the future to keep this connection going. πŸ˜‰

Amber, Blogger from Here For a Few

Basecamp Fitness Santa Monica Bikes

Women's Fitness at Basecamp Santa Monica

Women Supporting Women, She Connects IRL

Strong Not Skinny

High Intensity Interval Training

Interval Training at Basecamp Fitness

She Connects IRL at Basecamp Fitness

Women's Fitness

Yen Sister and She Connects IRL

The Future Is Female

This is just the beginning, and we can’t wait to see where She Connects IRL will go. We have a lot of ideas, so if you are a Los Angeles studio or company who supports our mission and would like to help sponsor one of our community events (does not have to be fitness related), let us know! You can email me at hello@wonderlandsam.com.

P.S. Click “HD” in the bottom right corner of the video for better viewing quality (and volume up, of course).

Also, an incredibly inspiring girl bossΒ and taking control of your happy.

-wonderland sam

imdb.me/samanthalee

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actress/texan kickin' it in los angeles. always searching for my next pizza. cia agent in another life.

12 thoughts on “real life, real stories, real connection

  1. This is awesome. I love the bags. And these pictures are beautiful…I feel like I should go hit the gym now. πŸ˜‰

  2. These women seem like a wonderful group to be a part of. I’m currently trying to find my tribe. I want authentic, intimate, and fun friendships. Thank you for sharing this post ❀

    Natalie | Natalie’s Alchemy

    1. Aw, I hope you find yours! Where are you located?
      I think we’ve been very fortunate with this group of women – all very kind and supportive of one another. ❀

      1. I’m located about an hour away from Los Angeles – to the south. And, thank you!
        xoxo

  3. I LOVED this post! I too am an introvert that appears to be an extrovert. It has been so hard finding new and true girlfriends in LA. I would love to come to one of the get togethers! Women empowering other women is so HUGE!!

    Keep up the awesome posts! And good luck with the acting as well! (Response to your comment on my blog) Your comment was so thoughtful and made my day! Followed you on IG! Let’s meet up soon! I feel like we would have soooo much in common!

    Xoxo Britt

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